Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work in the role of a practice nurse? Maybe you’re a current nursing student or recent graduate looking for some more insight into this role, or maybe you work in a completely different profession and are curious about the day to day work of other healthcare professionals. This is the second post in our ‘A Day In My Scrubs’ blog series, where healthcare professionals from different specialties give us some insight into what their job is like. In this particular post, you will hear from Nurse Yusra, or some of you may know her as @lifeofapracticenurse_ on Instagram, about a typical day for her as a GP Practice Nurse in Leicester.
‘A Day In My Scrubs’
By Nurse Yusra
One of the hardest parts of winter is getting out of bed when it’s so cold outside, especially when you’re not a morning person. Nevertheless, my working day begins from here with my morning skin care routine, getting ready for work and a quick bowl of cereal before rushing off.
Clinic begins. As a practice nurse my day varies from all sorts of appointments. No clinic is pre-set to particular appointments, which is what I enjoy with the fast turnover, as my brain is continuously switching from one type of clinical service to another with each patient that comes through my door. I definitely feel it keeps me on my toes.
This morning I have a few minutes dedicated to daily/weekly audits. Duties in my practice are shared amongst the nurses. So while the other nurse is on annual leave, I take over with the fridge temperature checks, anaphylaxis kit checks and other necessary audits.
My day is a mix of all sorts, varying from child immunisations, smears, long term disease management and more. As it’s winter season we have flu injections embedded in the clinic too.
I have a mid morning break/catch-up slot around 10.30am. I look forward to my cup of spiced tea which warms me up on these cold mornings.
Looking back, this morning I had a unique childhood immunisation case, in fact my first encounter of the sort. My patient, a baby, required early immunisations (as opposed to the routine schedule at 8 weeks old) as per Public Health England as they were mistakenly fed (pumped) breast milk from a Hep B + mother while in hospital. After liaising with the GP beforehand, the baby had a PSD (patient specific direction) in place, ready to be administered at the appointment. It was a pleasure working with the parents as they were very calm and understanding of the situation.
As a practice nurse, the majority of my time is spent working independently although my role does involve engaging with members of the disciplinary team which includes GP’s, the local immunisation service and health visitors. Holistic and continuity of care applies to primary care too!
My morning duty ended with two urinalysis samples requested by GP’s. I let them know if there’s any samples indicating a urine infection so they can prescribe antibiotics before I head off to lunch.
12.30 - 2.30pm
You must be thinking, a pretty long lunch eh? To be quite honest, I’ve become so accustomed to this prolonged break I struggle with anything shorter. Lunch normally is a home cooked meal and one of my daily prayers. Today we had chicken salad on the menu. Not as healthy as it sounds with all the dressings and dried cranberries. Did I forget to mention the hot chocolate?
2.30 - 6pm
Final stretch of the day. Again a mix of non complicated appointments making it a steady afternoon.
I successfully taught my asthma patient how to use her inhaler correctly after months of poor technique; the dealbreaker for good asthma control. It can be quite frustrating for patients when inhalers are being used regularly but not having the desired outcome.
She asked me if I could speak in Urdu which I was able to, allowing me to communicate effectively. She was super thankful for the time, effort and full explanation of what needed improving in a language she understood. It’s truly heartwarming and fulfilling when patients genuinely appreciate efforts as well as passing kind prayers before they leave my room. It was a ‘not all heroes wear capes’ moment.
The rest of the afternoon ran smoothly, with no unscheduled urgent ECG requests which means being able to leave on time.
Ran the last errands of the day. I mean, I couldn’t say no to a bit of shopping now could I?
Now home, ready to wind down. Nothing beats a hot shower followed by the final prayers of the day. Looking forward to some dinner and catching up with the family.
A new book to begin tonight with some camomile tea. A few moments of gratitude to appreciate the big and little things in life. I feel it should be more practised as it helps on the bad days too.
Not forgetting to set 10 alarms (yes I’m that person!) before drifting off to sleep to start it all again tomorrow.
A little bit about Yusra:
I graduated at 21 and secured my aspired practice nurse role.
My passion is raising awareness of the inequalities that exist amongst ethnic minority groups; the lack of inclusion of hijab wearing women/the value of ethnic minority healthcare workers etc (having said that I’m delighted happy threads are not afraid to work with me!).
Ending myths & supporting students into primary care as their first registered nursing role are some of my goals.
My hobbies include travelling and then trying new recipes/cuisines & a bit of baking at ridiculous times (2am!).